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Counting the Years

I count things mindlessly
view them through a metronome of associations
an upside-down pendulum

count the ripples on the water
as two seagulls take off towards the sun
bridge stretching incredulously into the fog
scooping curves from nowhere
count the golden rungs flashing by towards the bay

count back the years of your short life
your head on my shoulder
your hair brushing my cheek
sobbing a sigh into it; choking on it,
the lamp posts flickering past down the hill
straight as a row of angels plummeting
hazy halos around heads bent to misty street
towards winking yellow traffic lights
at the intersection of my life
and a metal-tearing meeting with a nameless
monster called fate


“I wouldn’t give two cents for her life”
said the doctor, and he was right
your ribs crushed, the meter of your
last minutes running out, the red sign
shuddered, once, twice, went up…

I watched them shuffle past,
tenderly place small stones, fragments of respect
on your gravestone; I was lost
senselessly counting the stones
counting your unheard footsteps
counting the empty heartbeats in my chest
counting backwards
thirty eight aching years
as they throb back each December
to that tree lined avenue
that overlooks the sea
from where I reset my clock

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© Johnmichael Simon



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